A sad February anniversary - this morning (three years ago) I lost Little Mac, my black and white catlet. I spent every minute of the day searching for her - in all the gardens, underneath all the hedges, in the back paddocks, down the water race - so certain she'd be found safe and well. I was sadly wrong. I still miss her.

 One of her first pictures.
Little Mac the Kitten

But to balance out these quiet, reflective memories - enter Tiddles the tabby! Kapow! Shazamm! Destructor of grocery bags, breaker of saucers, shredder of garden magazines - the loudest, pushiest cat in the house.

 Love you, Tiddles.
Tiddles the Tabby

Beware of Tiddles...

Cereal packets - beware! Tiddles will bust into you, leaving your contents spilling onto the floor. Pet-milk carton - you'd better be quick. Otherwise she'll puncture you, and then lick up your dribbles. Totally 'in my face' in the kitchen - outside, Tiddles is a superb gardening cat, as long as I'm not using any nippers. Leave a car door open and she's in like a flash to investigate. And she loves to join the dog pack when we go walking. Love you, Tiddles. Don't change a thing!

Wednesday 25th February

I love my dog pack. Today, having no car, we have to stay at home, so we are going for a controlled walk (ha ha) around the orchard, followed by a splosh in the pond. Then I am going to relax in the garden with a coffee, enjoy the views, and do some deep thinking. These reflective sessions happen quite a lot, and they usually involve the gushing phrase 'I am so lucky', with close variants.


A little Bit Later...

After a couple of false alarms (and much fortissimo dog-barking) we had a real visitor! The dogs were so excited. All this barking has paid off, after all! My friend and I drank iced water outside on the patio and planned our hiking trip (tomorrow). It's dependant on the wind and the heat, naturally.

Then the dogs and I went outside to continue our Pond Paddock work. Escher had to be tied on his long tether, because the 'boys' (the ram and the wethers) are now grazing in the next-door Ram Paddock. He has already been caught giving them a hurry-up chase around the fence-line. I'd guess his intentions were nosy rather than hurtful, but not to be trusted. A dog is a dog is a dog...

Much Later...

I've made several fitful returns to do more gardening work. But, oddly, Winnie (the youngest dog) has been causing me the most trouble. She's been disappearing, then bringing me back pieces of a long-dead sheep's leg (don't ask - it's one of the perils of country living). I have spent the afternoon bellowing at her - not conducive to serene meditation. I've been trying to clear around the back of the pond, but then as soon as I go out of sight Escher (tied to a tree) starts crying. I can't have this!

Escher's Trail of Mini-Destruction...

So we went for a walk, and Escher thought he smelt a creature in the Allotment Garden. In he charged, through the tall blue Salvias, crushing the multi-coloured Nasturtiums, breaking some of the little beans, and squashing the pretty little pansies. Or are they violas? Oops.

 And some Shasta daisies.

It could have been a wee lizard, or a mouse, and it was lightning fast, faster than his nose and his bulky dog-body could keep up with. Hmm... He's made a bit of a mess. So one way and another my gardening afternoon has been dogged by dogs!

Friday 27th February

Back home, shuffling around rather slowly, after a great day out hiking. And I rather do mean shuffling. Sometimes in ones journal one needs the tiniest font, to whisper something one would rather not say. Hmm. The last hour of today's gentle descent was a little difficult, and I wonder - just wonder - if I need to think about slightly shorter walks, with less climbing. There. I've said it.

 The good and the slightly bad!
Wedgwood Roses

But no! I love it. I love being out in the hills. I always have an absolutely wonderful time in mind and body. Banks Peninsula is a unique place to walk - an ancient volcano crater, with a ring of peaks and ridgelines, not too high, with a bit of everything - grazing farmland (with nosy cattle), pine plantations (for cropping), tracts of native bush, masses of blue sky, blue harbour, distant blue ocean...

Saturday 28th February

Ha! My confidence is back, after an anti-inflammatory pill (doctor prescribed), a cider, a great meal, and a good night's rest. Am not a huge fan of pills... But I'm off swimming this morning, and this will be a good 'recovery session'.

Early Evening...

Blast. A blast of hot air, that is, blown over from Australia across the Tasman Sea. Thirty-four crackling-dry degrees. Just too hot. Too hot to go to bed, let alone do any gardening. The cottage will be soooooo hot!

Sunday 29th February

Phew. A more 'respectable' temperature, perfect for garden pottering. We've just been to the dog park (a different 'class' of dog goes there in the weekends - dare I call them the rougher types? And now I'm off to dead-head some dahlias.

I know, this is pretty lame stuff, but it could work me up into a hard-working frenzy. Oh, really? In my dreams...